Dairy RegTech: working together to protect food safety
Dairy RegTech is a different way for DFSV to monitor food safety compliance, with a greater focus on people and behaviour to encourage improvement.
Dairy RegTech supports DFSV’s efforts to safeguard public health through a robust regulatory framework. This approach recognises that food safety systems depend on the people who implement them, and importantly the food safety culture of a business.
While licensees who transition to Dairy RegTech will continue to undergo compliance audits, these audits will be targeted at areas that support better food safety practices and incorporate the other information gathered through Dairy RegTech.
Transitioning to Dairy RegTech is voluntary for dairy manufacturers. It is not yet available for dairy farmers.
Dairy RegTech allows a licensee’s engagement with DFSV to be more constructive – licensees can celebrate the things about food safety they do well, and more easily identify risks and pathways for improvement.
For an extended version of this video, click here .
Benefits of transitioning to Dairy RegTech
Dairy RegTech uses two powerful resources – information about food safety performance combined with food safety culture – to drive performance, help prevent food safety incidents and provide a framework to guide continuous improvement for businesses.
With a more proactive approach than the audit-only system, Dairy RegTech enables DFSV to identify potential issues earlier and support the licensee to address them.
The food safety culture of a business is how everyone (owners, managers, employees) thinks and acts every day to make sure the food they produce is safe. Click here to learn more about food safety culture and how Dairy RegTech utilises it.
Regular data to confirm food safety
Food safety culture
A more regular ‘health check’ of food safety systems. This allows DFSV to provide tailored support to dairy manufacturers to help them address potential issues before they disrupt production or create risks for consumers.
A focus on behaviours that strengthen food safety will generally prevent problems arising, but if they do occur, they will be dealt with faster and more effectively.
How it will operate in Dairy RegTech
· Licensees regularly submit their food safety information via the Dairy RegTech Portal.
· Licensees already collect the data they will submit to Dairy RegTech. It could include end product testing (microbiological testing), environmental monitoring, corrective action requests (timeliness of corrective action), and food safety training records.
· DFSV will work with licensees to tailor what data they upload and how often to best fit with their existing business practices.
· Through an individualised dashboard, licensees will be able to easily observe trends in the data and compare their performance to industry benchmarks of food safety data and food safety culture scores.
· This will make it easier for licensees and DFSV to monitor how production is responding to food safety challenges.
· This will enable licensees to more easily identify areas for improvement.
· DFSV will provide more regular feedback including about managing risk more effectively.
· Auditors will look at this data including trends. This means audits will be more tailored and targeted, with less time spent manually checking records and more time discussing how to improve food safety culture and performance.
· DFSV uses a ‘food safety culture maturity model’ that considers the activities, resources and traits which contribute to consistently high quality, safe food being produced.
· It will identify strengths and areas for improvement in a business.
· Licensees can see how their food safety score compares to the industry benchmark.
· DFSV provides guidance and tools to help licensees improve their food safety culture.
· Every 12 months, participants will have the opportunity to have their food safety culture re-evaluated.
· Improving everybody’s understanding and appreciation of food safety, and their responsibility to maintain it, can help licensees make lasting improvements.
Under Dairy RegTech, licensees and DFSV collaborate using objective measures to improve behaviours and practices (i.e. culture) that are critical to food safety. Dairy RegTech enables resources to be targeted, delivering better results for licensees, DFSV and the wider industry.
For dairy company CEOs and Boards, benefits include:
- A more meaningful and realistic assessment of food safety management in a business
- Independent evaluation of food safety compliance against internal reporting
- Benchmarking of food safety culture
- Reduced risk through early warning of potential shortcomings and issues
- Access to training tools particularly around managing behaviour-driven risk
For smaller operators, Dairy RegTech provides access to resources for food safety monitoring including:
- The ability to digitally record their food safety data, replacing paper-based systems
- Access to trending and additional analysis of their food safety data
- Improved understanding of their food safety culture
For dairy company managers (QA, general, financial), benefits include:
- Easier engagement with DFSV for approvals needed for new processes and products
- Industry benchmarking to inform resource allocation and performance management
For human resource managers, benefits include:
- Reinforcement of the importance of food safety culture and the link between an individual’s tasks and behaviour, and overall food safety performance
- Identification of areas for staff development
- Access to training tools provided by DFSV for workers about food safety and food safety culture
For site or production staff supervisors, benefits include:
- Improvements in timeliness and reliability of food safety reporting between audits
- Collaboration with DFSV and ease of access to information about food safety
- Feedback loops to senior management and to DFSV on any food safety related topic
For production staff, benefits include:
- Understanding of why their job matters and the linkage of individual responsibilities to food safety
- Recognition of effort via culture score and affirmation of good results
- A feedback loop to managers
Dairy RegTech means DFSV receives information about food safety more regularly, as well as more indicators of a licensee’s food safety culture. Other differences between Dairy RegTech and the existing audit-based food safety compliance approach include:
Six-monthly audits to verify compliance
Food safety data used to reduce reliance on audit as the only means of verifying compliance
Manufacturers will continue to undergo regulatory audits, but these audits will be different:
• Less time spent manually checking compliance data, giving licensees more time to discuss issues and progress with their food safety culture
• The opportunity for longer time between audits
• Audits focus on key areas of food safety risk with minimum effective time on site. The DFSV Culture Specialist works with the site to identify strengths and areas for improvement, linking behaviours and food safety impacts, and periodically assessing progress against the site’s action plan.
Verification data examined onsite during audit
More frequent assurance of compliance via regularly submitted food safety data
Focus on food safety regulatory requirements
Insights provided to assist Food Safety Managers assess compliance and to plan audit focus
Enables benchmarking and identifies trends
Provides measures to drive improved performance
Cursory, unstructured and unrecorded observations about food safety culture
Food safety culture measured objectively
Improvements in food safety culture are measurable
Food safety culture formalised as a means of improving food safety
While the audit-based compliance system for Victorian dairy food has worked well over many years, DFSV and industry wanted to explore innovative approaches that were more proactive and collaborative. Together they developed Dairy RegTech, which is a different way for DFSV to monitor food safety compliance that has a greater focus on people and behaviour to encourage improvement.
The food safety culture of a business is how everyone (owners, managers, employees) thinks and acts in their daily job to make sure that the food they make is safe. Food safety incidents in Australia and overseas can often be traced back to how people behave, when they are responsible for food safety within the food business. As new technologies change the way food is produced and supplied, regulators are focusing on culture as a way of measuring commitment to sustaining food safety systems.
Dairy RegTech uses a food safety culture maturity model to identify and explain the drivers of food safety at a manufacturing site. Applying the model will identify strengths and areas for improvement.
To read more about food safety culture and how it is measured as part of Dairy RegTech, click here .
DFSV Manufacturer licensees can now apply to participate in Dairy RegTech, click here for more information
What is Dairy RegTech?
Dairy RegTech is a different way for DFSV to monitor food safety compliance, with a greater focus on people and behaviour.
Why was Dairy RegTech developed?
While the audit-based compliance system for Victorian dairy food has worked well over many years, DSFV and industry wanted to explore innovative approaches that were more proactive and collaborative. Together they developed Dairy RegTech, which is a different way for DFSV to monitor food safety compliance that has a greater focus on people and behaviour to encourage improvement.
What is food safety culture?
The food safety culture of a business is how everyone (owners, managers, employees) thinks and acts in their daily job to make sure that the food they make is safe.
Who can participate in Dairy RegTech?
Victorian dairy manufacturers of any size can apply to participate in Dairy RegTech.
What does Dairy RegTech involve?
- Uses digital technology to streamline regular reporting and communication between DFSV and licensees
- Makes results and individualised insights against industry benchmarks more accessible through a dashboard of reports;
- Enables DFSV to more regularly verify food safety processes are sound
- Measures behaviours related to food safety within a business and identifies areas to strengthen the food safety culture
Do licensees who have transitioned to Dairy RegTech still have audits?
Yes. Licensees will continue to undergo regulatory audits. But these audits will be different:
- Less time will be spent manually checking compliance data, giving licensees more time to discuss issues and progress with their food safety culture
- The opportunity for longer times between audits
- Audits will involve two DFSV people, a Food Safety Manager and a food safety culture specialist.
How often do you have to upload food safety data?
DFSV will work with manufacturers to tailor what data and how often they will upload it to best fit in with their existing business practices. Whether that is weekly or monthly, it will require additional resourcing and a commitment to transparency.
Dairy RegTech uses the data to give ongoing insight into food safety process control .
When will it launch?
The program will commence in January 2021.